Tropical Dreaming

While others are dreaming of a white Christmas I’m tropical dreaming!



Last night was a “three quilt night”. Burr!

Five Hundred Twenty Seven Day Countdown!

I am sooo excited to announce publicly that I will be teaching on a Stitchin Heaven Quilting Cruise in 2019! The website just went live a few hours ago and I couldn’t wait to blog about this!

Tropical Dreaming of a Quilting Cruise
I couldn’t be more thrilled – hope you will join me!

Perfect Christmas Present For The Quilter in Your Life – YOU!

Imagine yourself on a relaxing cruise surrounded by the beautiful blue sea

The details are all on the website Stitchin Heaven Travel    They offer travel certificates that would make perfect stocking stuffers.

I dearly love cruising.  And it’s so much fun to combine that with quilting! This will be the third opportunity to teach on a quilting cruise and I couldn’t be more excited! Once again I will be teaching an original pattern using Studio 180 Design tools!

The ports of call are familiar to this seasoned cruiser – Cozumel, Jamacia, and Grand Cayman.

Tropical Dreaming with Beautiful Tropical Flowers of Roatan
We visited Roatan this past October and I loved all the tropical flowers!

Quilting Cruises Are The Best Tropical Dreaming!

I’d love to tell you more, and don’t worry! I will – but I need to head out to the Island Quilter’s Guild Holiday Party! More later!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, dreaming of that Tropical Vacation! Hope you will make plans to join me!



Shortcut Binding Tool – Product Review

Shortcut Binding Tool Review

Day 2 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge

Today’s blog is brought to you in black and white because it is also a blog containing secret sewing!


Secret Sewing

Wish I could show you the beautiful colors – but it’s a secret

I have been working secretly for the past few weeks, in between customer quilts, to meet a fast-approaching deadline (12/15) with Island Batik for a quilt that will be a part of their Spring/Summer 2018 Catalog (SS18).  The fabrics arrived the end of October, but I really didn’t get started with making the quilt until the middle of November.  It’s a secret because the fabrics won’t be introduced until Spring…so…black and white and little tiny hints are all I can share. Oh! And it’s an original pattern that will be released about the same time so I can’t even show the quilt top….but it will be worth the wait I promise!

Shortcut Binding Tool

Shortcut Binding Tool ReviewThe mystery quilt has been quilted and today it was time to add the binding. I wanted to make this a little special so I decided to make a binding with a flange. This is not a new concept to my quilting but I did simplify it today with a tool I picked up at Festival last year. Disclaimer – this is an honest product review, I was not asked to do this nor paid or gifted any product for my thoughts.

What I like about the Shortcut Binding Tool  is the sizes for cutting both the flange and the binding are printed right on the tool so I don’t have to think..that’s always more fun, no thinking just sewing! In addition, there are detailed written instructions with pictures – and guess what! They are in color!

Here’ are the highlights of the process in photos taken today.

Shortcut Binding Tool
The Shortcut Binding Tool tells you the width to cut your binding strip. I could cut it with a regular ruler but it was so much easier to just follow the line on the tool
Shortcut Binding Tool
Again, cutting the width of the flange fabric was made easy with the lines on the Shortcut Binding Tool

The next step was to simply join the two fabrics together to make the long strip needed for binding the quilt. I thought I’d give you a hint of the colors in this quilt – you’re welcome.

MasterPiece Thread #142
Superior Threads MasterPiece #142 Aquarius is the perfect piecing thread for this secret sewing project

To continue with the step by step:

Shortcut Binding Tool Pressing Instructions


Shortcut Binding Tool Sewing Instructions

As Ben & Jerry’s always said: “if it’s not fun why do it!”

I loved the instructions for joining the seams – don’t want to spoil the details – you need this Shortcut Binding Tool!


Shortcut Binding Tool Flange
Time to flip over and sew from the front leaving the flange free.

Was that fast? Yep, that was fast!

Shortcut Binding Tool Summary

Bottom line, I would recommend the Shortcut Binding Tool. As I mentioned I have done this process of making a binding and flange as one unit before but having this tool make the process faster with the marked measurements for cutting and the added bonus of joining the strips together. I love the end result! It’s my firm belief you can never have too many tools in your quilting toolbox! Ask for it at your local quilt shop!

Stay tuned until the spring when the quilt pattern & fabric line will be unveiled

The binding was completed just in time prior to the arrival of my professional photographer! I can’t wait to share this quilt with you! Note: This will also be taught in 2019 on a quilting cruise with Stitchin Heaven that I am over the moon excited about.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, wrapping up Day 2 #31dayblogchallenge #2017blogwritingchallenge. Until tomorrow – Press on!






October Announcements: Part 2

Oh my, the month seems to have escaped me! I apologize, dear readers, as I did plan on making this announcement much sooner…but no time like the present!

Introducing Mint Chocolate Chip!

Original Pattern by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler - Mint Chocolate Chip
Mint Chocolate Chip designed, pieced and quilted by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

This is my second pattern that will be introduced at Quilt Market this upcoming weekend here in Houston. I can hardly wait!!

Mint Chocolate Chip was created as part of the #sweettreats Signature Collection by Nan Baker, Purrfect Spots Designs,  called Northern Woods by Island Batik.

Facebook post from Nan Baker, Purrfect Spots Designs featuring Mint Chocolate Chip
As seen on Facebook 10/24/17

The colors are so delicious! Doesn’t it remind you of minty chocolates? The border reminds me of the twisted ends of the candy wrapper. I think it has an earthy feel to it too,  kinda like a path in the woods on a crisp fall day. It will make a nice couch throw measuring at 48″ x 58″.

If you are following the link to the online catalog I’m on page 103

Island Batik Fall Market 2017 Catalog page featuring Mint Chocolate Chip
Page out of the catalog – I plan on getting a copy for my mother!

The fabrics will be available for shops to place their order for kits and patterns beginning this weekend and will ship in the spring. I will be offering this as a precut kit also in the spring of 2018.

The Story Behind The Quilt

I just thought I was going to make this short and sweet…but then I wouldn’t be The Quilt Rambler now would I?

You may recall that our Island Batik Ambassador challenge for June was to make a quilt with curves…well…this was the fabric I was given to do so.

Beautiful stack of 10 inch precut Island Batik fabrics
Island Batik’s Pressed Petal Collection

I had a quilt all designed months ahead of time, using these precuts and my Go cutter…Even had a little “help” from Oscar in the layout department….

Kitten scattering fabric
Not used to kittens in the house. Oscar lives “next door” but has visiting rights. He didn’t seem to like my layout

About the time I’m getting ready to sew the project I receive an email with a call out to designers for patterns for upcoming lines of Island Batik fabrics. I answered the call…and….this pattern was chosen.

collage of quilt layouts prior to finalizing Mint Chocolate Chip pattern
Several layouts, color changes, and multiple design changes later – Mint Chocolate Chip was born!
The pattern will work with lots of color choices

My original design for the June project was called Jump Ball as the bright colors of Pressed Petals reminded me of a basketball court and the players jumping for the ball as the game began. Later when the pattern was submitted to Island Batik using the Northern Woods collection I renamed it to Path in the Woods. Later still upon learning that the fabric line was Nan’s signature collection and she was naming her quilts with a #sweettreat theme she and I together decided to call it Mint Chocolate Chip.

Photo by Eric Overton, Overton Photography Mint Chocolate Chip Quilt by The Quilt Rambler
Mint Chocolate Chip Pattern by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Doesn’t the fabric line truly remind you of fall? I will remind you that this was my secret sewing project back in JUNE!!!

After the design and piecing came the fun part – putting it on my longarm!

Auditioning design elements

Don’t you just love the “kissie candy look” in the design element?

Sometimes I have to frog out a few stitches (rip it rip it) but that’s reality and I don’t mind admitting it

I really liked the way the border reminded me of the crinkled end of a candy wrapper. Makes me want chocolate just looking at it!

Its all in the details when it comes to quilting Mint Chocolate Chip
Close up quilting on Mint Chocolate Chip
Patterns by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler. Mint Chocolate Chip and Illuminated Journey
Mint Chocolate Chip and Illuminated Journey

I will be attending Quilt Market later this weekend and will be “visiting” both of my quilts in the Island Batik booth – can’t wait to share photos of the experience! Be sure and follow me on all social media – Facebook and Instagram, even a little on Twitter!

This is short and sweet (less than a thousand words, is that a record?) as I’m working on my next secret quilt project for Island Batik’s Spring 2018 catalog… Stay tuned, there’s so much to talk about!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, excited to finally share the big reveal!

Are you going to Quilt Market or Quilt Festival? If you see me please introduce. yourself! If you are unable to go – you need to follow my #thequiltramblerontheroad reports on social media!

October Announcements: Part 1

October has just begun and I couldn’t be more excited! So many wonderful things are coming together this month, I can’t wait to share with you…but one thing at a time!

I have been sitting on this news for a very very long time! Normally I’m not very good at keeping secrets, (except the ones that are just too special to share)…but this secret’s time has come and I can now share!!!!

The Big News

My pattern Illuminated Journey will be included in the Fall-Winter 2017 Island Batik Catalog focusing on the new fabric line Paisley Dot  

Pg 52 in the Island Batik FW17 Catalog is Illuminated Journey by The Quilt Rambler

Yes, not only can you see my quilt in Fall-Winter 2017 Island Batik Catalog but I also have my mug shot in the catalog! And yes, I’m excited to be on the same page as my favorite designer, Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Design. I’m so excited to be a new Certified Instructor with her…that’s a ramble for another time.

This is the third page of designers – I’m so excited to be counted among this group of my peers

Illuminated Journey’s Quilt Story

Briefly, before I show you highlights of the current quilt in Paisley Dots I wanted to share the history of this design…

Illuminated Journey Class Quilt Cruise 2015

Back in 2014, Carla from Cactus Quilts in Texas City asked if I would be interested in teaching on her 2nd annual quilting cruise! Of course, I said YES! It goes without saying how much I love Deb’s method of constructing Lemoyne Star units so I asked if she’d mind if I designed the cruise quilt around her ruler and technique sheet and she said YES!

Karen Overton holding her quilt Illuminated Journey outside near a breathtaking view of Arizona
Illuminated Journey and The Quilt Rambler journey to Arizona

I’ve enjoyed teaching this project – in case you missed it, Illuminated Journey traveled to Arizona for a quilt lecture and workshop. You can read about it here.

AND! While we are talking about teaching, traveling, and such….I am now taking bookings for the  2018 season – I’d love to come to your quilt shop, guild or retreat and share my pattern and other fun topics and techniques…

Okay, back to the current ramble…


Illuminated Journey – Paisley Dot version

EQ7 version was submitted to Island Batik.

This journey began earlier this year due to my involvement as an Island Batik Ambassador. Requests were sent out for pattern submissions to feature the upcoming Fall Winter 2017 line of fabrics….and Illuminated Journey was chosen!

Before too long the fabrics were sent to me to construct the quilt. I found it very interesting how many months in advance things must be completed to have a fabulous presentation at Fall Market coming up at the end of October here in Houston. As a side note, “Market” is the weekend before “Festival” – it is a trade show where buyers come to see the newest items in the quilt industry, including new fabrics and new patterns!

This version was made for my son Jake using precuts from Island Batik

I love using pre-cuts. The original pattern used Island Batik precuts.  I’ve made Illuminated Journey multiple times. Island Batik never disappoints! The collection is curated so well that you look like a fabric color coordinating pro with the end results. I’ve found it amazing that even when my students use the same line no two quilts are ever the same.  I love it!

Illuminated Journey – Let the Quilting Begin

In no time I had the quilt top pieced and began the process of quilting. I wanted to do something unique and different for this version. Coming up with the design was so much fun and I had the opportunity to audition some new longarm specialty rulers. Can’t ask for anything better!

On the longarm…dots and more dots
I don’t know what I enjoy the most, designing and making the quilt top or designing and quilting the quilt. Both! Enjoying the process!
Hot off the frame – this is one of my favorite parts – seeing how the light bounces off the texture of the quilting highlighting the fabrics

Illuminated Journey -Pattern and Fabric Coming Soon

My quilt was shipped to Island Batik to be photographed for the catalog and to be made available this upcoming year for travel and trunk shows. There’s a possibility that Illuminated Journey will be on display at the upcoming Fall Market in the Paisley Dot display with Island Batik. If so, you know I’ll be sharing those photos!

Illuminated Journey, designed, pieced, and quilted by Karen E Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Here’s the cool thing – you can tell your local quilt shop that new fabrics are being released at Fall Market (well, actually your local quilt shop knows that already)…anyway…you can share this sneak peek of a new line and new pattern that will be available soon AND you can suggest a workshop with this traveling rambler!

By the way, the pattern will be available either at the end of 2017 or the start of 2018. Stay tuned for that big reveal! Quilt shops will be placing their orders for these new fabrics that will also ship the first of the year.

But Wait – There’s More!

Did ya’ notice that this post said “Part 1” – observant aren’t you! Yes, this is just one happy announcement for this the first day of October…there’s soooo many good things coming this month and beyond…but that’s all for today.

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, finally able to celebrate the inclusion of Illuminated Journey in Island Batik’s Fall-Winter fabric lineup! Cheers!

Taking an informal poll – how important is it to you to have a kit to make “just like the pattern” or do you like to choose your own fabrics? Inquiring minds want to know. Leave a comment, please!











What Do You Get When You Add Friends And Fabric?

photo of quilting workshop with Karen Overton

 …A quilting day with friends of course!

pink poka dot suitcases full of quilting supplies for a quilting workshop
Suitcases full of quilts, fabric, sewing supplies added with comfy sewing chair and sewing machine – perfect combination for a quilting workshop

The Quilt Rambler has been on the road again (yes, you can hum the Willie Nelson song while you read along, I don’t mind). You may recall my recent trip to Arizona to teach my pattern Illuminated Journey….well I have to confess that the bags have been in the living room unpacked – full of quilts – for over 2 weeks now! Too many fun things going on to worry about refolding quilts to put back up in the studio! Procrastination paid off somewhat as all I had to do to get ready for this next workshop was to pull out the quilts I didn’t need, add in my work-in-progress demo kit, update the thread kit, etc. – quick packing if I do say so myself!

Save the Date

Several months ago the plans were put into motion to teach my pattern Double Occupancy to my local guild, the Island Quilters Guild of Galveston Texas. I’ve been looking forward to this – nothing like hometown advantage! I can bring my own sewing machine and chair!! Actually, that’s a bonus but the real fun is quilting along with my friends from the guild, ladies that I enjoy having sew-ins and retreats with. We share more than fabric, we share a lot of laughter!

Pattern cover showing Double Occupancy quilt pattern by Karen Overton
Advertised months in advance – we’ve “saved the date”  May 20th for Double Occupancy workshop

Friends and Fabric

Mindy is happily sewing her workshop project
Mindy helped with all the workshop arrangements and notifying students of homework and other details in preparation for a fun day of sewing

It wasn’t long before everyone had their sewing machines set up and all their beautiful precut fabrics neatly pressed, labeled and laid out eager to learn a new technique.

This pattern was designed with precut bundles in mind. Specifically 10″ squares and 2.5″ strips plus background. And of course, my recommended fabric was/is Island Batiks. They have the most gorgeous fabrics, and since the majority of the guild members actually live on Galveston Island (sadly I’m a mainlander) most of us have that tropical island outlook in our fabric choices.

student is sewing colorful fabric in the quilting workshop with Karen Overton
Libby looks like she is enjoying the process

That said, my quilting friends are unique individuals and do have different tastes in fabric choices – which I might add, based on experience, varies from project to project!  I rarely teach a class where it is a mandatory cookie cutter kit – while there are advantages to kits it is nice to offer a student the option of bringing their own fabric as I feel like you need to love the fabric if you are going to put that much time into making a quilt. Who needs another UFO quilt project! But I have to say, I really enjoyed seeing all the island batik fabrics of those who chose to use them! The other fabrics were equally stunning…A little Moda, a little Kaffe…all beautiful!

colorful pile of quilting units made with beautiful island batik fabrics
Island Batik fabrics are perfect for this Double Occupancy pattern

When designing this pattern I preferred the Island Batik precut bundles because there are an equal number of duplicates of the fabrics – 20 coordinated prints times two. I based my pattern off of this feature as only one-half of the package of both 10″ squares and 2.5″ squares is needed to make one quilt. The entire packages (plus background and borders) actually make two quilts! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself!

Demo a Little, Sew a Lot

Karen Overton teaching her pattern Double Occupancy at a workshop
I love being able to demo the steps with the sewing machine instead of just presenting a handout or visual

I love teaching! And I love learning new techniques and designs. In my early years after I made my very first quilt, I turned around and taught 10 ladies and their daughters from my homeschool group to make the same quilt I just learned. For me, “it’s make – one teach ten!” I love sharing what I am doing with my friends!

ladies carefully watching a quilting workshop demonstration
I have very attentive students during the demo


Double Occupancy uses Studio 180 Design Rapid Fire Hunters Star Ruler in the larger size ruler (there’s a petite size). I demo-ed one step, sent the gals back to the machine to sew, then demo-ed the next step. Following this process most of the day. See one, do one….works for me!


student shows her progress in quilting workshop
Get it, got it – good! Way to go Mindy!
student in quilting workshop
Bonnie looks like she’s making good progress
student sewing in quilting workshop
Keep up the good work Libby!
student sewing in quilting workshop
Christine demonstrates good posture and good concentration (grin)
quilting student in workshop
See Katy, I told you that you were photogenic (and that I wouldn’t leave you out of the photos!)
lady showing her quilting block in a workshop setting
Terri you are just having way too much fun girlfriend!

Double the Fun

As I hinted to earlier – the pattern is designed to make two 68 x 68 quilts from one package of 10″ squares, one package of 2.5″ strips, plus background and border fabric. There are 13 different layout solutions in the pattern and I have personally made 9 of them with the remaining 4 being works in progress ( I work on them at sew-ins or work from them as my classroom demo). Sadly at this time, only the cover quilts are actually quilted.  Just like the old saying “a cobbler’s children have no shoes”, a longarm quilter is generally behind in quilting her own quilts.  I like to call the quilts with the same fabric choices “twins” – two identical fabric kits yet uniquely different. Just like people – no two are really alike. What I have enjoyed as I have taught this class is seeing the students’ completed quilt tops, same fabric + different layout = individual unique quilt. The hunter star is like a log cabin – endless layout possibilities!

Quilting workshop samples
Several quilt samples of Double Occupancy layouts were displayed around the classroom
colorful quilts on display around the workshop classroom floor
More layout choices for the Double Occupancy pattern

Friends Plus Fabric Equals Fun Fellowship

smiling lady at sewing machine
Leah seems to be enjoying the workshop

As the day went on the step by step techniques were demoed and the ladies just sewed and sewed. I like to teach to the individual. It’s been my experience that there are multiple learning styles as well as the speed of sewing that varies by the individual. Because of that, I tell everyone that “where you are is where you are supposed to be“. Sometimes the smoking needles are ready for the next step and other times someone needs a repeat demo. That’s what I’m there for. That and making all the mistakes so they don’t have to.  I can make some whoppers but I show how to work through them, fix them, or forget them! As I like to say “I fired the quilt police a long time ago.”

That’s not to say that I don’t strive for my best and I do teach proper technique, but I do remind my students that they are there to learn a technique and to allow themselves a little learning curve. Most people don’t sew their best in a group setting….for me it’s usually because I’m focused more on the conversations that my perfect quarter inch seam! Quilting is our passion, but we need to be kind to ourselves sometimes and just have fun. My motto that is hanging in my studio says “Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge I have at the time with the goal of continually improving.”

student looks on as teacher demonstrates sewing technique
Striving to do my best with the skills and knowledge available at the time striving to continually improve. Yep, I love teaching workshops. especailly to students who are eager to learn something new and fun

I do like to introduce students to a sometimes new to them technique of using a pressing stick to press their seams open as I think you just get better results. Regardless of “press to the dark side” or press open, the proper technique of pressing is always an important detail as is good rotary cutting techniques.

lady ironing a quilt block
Bonnie is a very careful presser
Lady pressing quilt blocks
Libby is enjoying her new rotating pressing surface
students in quilting workshop
Trimming is important ladies! And make sure you are having fun doing it
lady cutting out a quilting block
Helena said she was enjoying her new cutting mat, the markings helped her to be more accurate. Good job!

One thing I love about Deb Tucker’s rulers is the success even beginner quilters have when using them – a little wiggle room is added to help with the piecing part and then when the unit is completed it is trimmed to perfection. Genius design makes happy quilters!

Happy Quilters

lady holding a quilt block make in the quilting workshop
Dena’s quilt is going to be fabulous with the Kaffe fabrics!

All too soon it was time to pack back up and head to the mainland leaving my island gals to their own paths home. While a one-day class doesn’t usually produce a finished quilt top I do believe that everyone went home with the knowledge and experience of using this specialty ruler and it is my hope that there will be lots of Double Occupancy quilts in upcoming Island Quilters Quilt show and tell!


photo of quilting workshop with Karen Overton
Double Occupancy Workshop – Island Girl style

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, on the road but not far from home

Do you enjoy quilting with friends? I’d love to have you share your thoughts, please leave a comment below!